One of the entries to Week 1488 – ideas for reusing various odd surplus items – included this note to the Empress: “Interesting to see if any conservative leaning entrants get published.” The accompanying entries: “55-gallon bung barrel: The latest thing Joe Biden blamed for inflation.” “Baking pans for 32 hamburger buns: What the Biden White House sent to red states instead of baby formula.” “500 31-inch pieces of rope: Group of Philadelphia voters in the 2020 election.” Okay, Mr. Michael Magee of Arlington, they’re published!
The E’s still puzzling over that last one with the rope, but she was inspired – especially in Week 1492, evoking a year that, to much of our polarized nation, is no longer one to celebrate joyfully – to bring back one of her first contests. Noting that the political jokes in her most recent contest in 2004 had “ranged from Gentle Tweaking of the [G.W. Bush] Administration to Raving Leftist Screed,” she asked for this, and now does again: Send us conservative-leaning humor in a Q&A joke format or a knock-knock joke, as in the examples above. What’s “conservative”? In the past 19 years, “conservative” has become equated by many with “bigoted,” “hateful,” etc.; well, duh, don’t send us anything bigoted or hateful. But surely the Blue World has lots of valid wit-targets out there. (This week’s cartoon illustrates Steve Honley’s winning “News in Preview” prediction in Week 1260, that on Oct. 12, 2018, the city of Columbus would get a new name.)
Submit up to 25 entries at wapo.st/enter-invite-1492 (no capitals in the Web address). Deadline is Monday, June 20; results appear July 10 in print, July 7 online.
Winner gets the Clowning Achievement, our Style Invitational trophy. Second place receives a pen topped with a young Donald Trump wearing boxing gloves. Press levers on the back and the arms punch out. If you replace the battery it also says things like “My attitude is huge” and “Don’t touch the hair,” but it’s now out of power. Donated by Loser Steve Leifer. And we’ll even throw in an old paperback collection of “The Speeches of Spiro Agnew,” regifted by Loser Howard Walderman.
Other runners-up win their choice of our “For Best Results, Pour Into Top End” Loser Mug or our “Whole Fools” Grossery Bag. Honorable mentions get one of our lusted-after Loser magnets, “A Small Jester of Appreciation” or “Close, but Ceci N’est Pas un Cigare.” First Offenders receive only a smelly tree-shaped air “freshener” (FirStink for their first ink). See general contest rules and guidelines at wapo.st/inviteFAQ. The headline “Refurb Madness” is by Jon Gearhart; Kevin Dopart and Chris Doyle each came up with the honorable-mentions subhead. Join the lively Style Invitational Devotees group on Facebook at on.fb.me/invdev; “like” the Style Invitational Ink of the Day on Facebook at bit.ly/inkofday; and follow @StyleInvite on Twitter.
The Style Conversational: The Empress’s weekly online column discusses each new contest and set of results. This week’s includes more conservative humor from past contests.
Refurb madness: The second-use ideas of Week 1488
In Week 1488 we directed the Loser Community to the website of RepurposedMaterials and asked how they might reuse any of the surplus items listed there. Most of them, it seems, didn’t know (or, more likely, didn’t want to know) that a bung barrel is just a vat with a hole where you can put a stopper or faucet. Meanwhile, a disturbing number of people wanted to match up those 500 pieces of rope with members of Congress. Honestly.
Baking pans for 32 hamburger buns; pack of 134: With these 4,288 indentations to use as breeding pools, my mosquito breeding farm is going to go BIG! (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn, Va.)
Pink steel pipe nipples: Even better than tearing down Confederate statues is giving them long-lasting pink nipples! (Kevin Dopart, vacationing in Naxos, Greece)
Mall kiosk display unit: During a pandemic, or just to save on gas, you can still get the mall experience by setting this up in your living room and walking right by it. (Leif Picoult, Rockville, Md.)
And the winner of the Clowning Achievement:
80-foot roll of artificial turf: Do you enjoy hiking, but hate rocks, tree roots and mud? Just unroll this baby every 80 feet and you’ll keep your shoes neat and your toes from getting stubbed. Turns the Appalachian Trail into a stroll in the park in just 145,200 easy stages. (Jonathan Jensen, Baltimore)
Second Hand Noes: Honorable mentions
55-gallon bung barrel: For those mornings when 54 gallons of coffee doesn’t seem to be enough to wake you up. (Duncan Stevens, Vienna, Va.)
8-by-80-foot roll of artificial turf: Perfect for a roof garden where you can grow artificial flowers and vegetables. (John O’Byrne, Dublin, Ireland)
500 31-inch pieces of rope: Great for elementary school science fair projects, like a diorama of Clifford the Big Red Dog’s intestinal worms. (Kevin Dopart)
Examination gloves, small: Five-use condoms! (Did I say small? Large. I meant large.) (Sam Mertens, Silver Spring, Md.)
20-foot, 8,000-pound concrete highway barrier: I live at the end of a dead-end street and drivers keep turning around in my driveway. When I put this in the way, that’ll be the end of THAT annoyance! (Dave Prevar, Annapolis, Md.)
Highway barrier: Build a wall next to the Mexico section of “It’s a Small World” at Disney World, because it’s not THAT small. — R. DeSantis, Tallahassee (Mark Raffman, Reston, Va.)
Highway barrier: A perfect prop for kicking off the “Christie 2024” campaign in Fort Lee, N.J. (Frank Mann, Washington)
300 7-by-9-inch foam food trays: Paint them gray, yellow and green, and hold Giant Wordle games on the Mall. (Jon Ketzner, Cumberland, Md.; Duncan Stevens)
300 foam food trays: Use a hamburger mold to cut out as many foam disks as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Pop them on the grill for no more than two seconds, et voilà, the best vegan barbecue ever! (Lee Graham, Reston, Va.)
300 foam food trays + Zycosil Multi-Surface Water Repellent, 5 Quarts: Well, you have been wanting to re-tile your bathroom ... (Danielle Nowlin, Fairfax Station, Va.)
20,000 2-ounce plastic bottles: Now you can carry on more than 300 gallons of wine on your next flight. (Kevin Dopart)
5 gallons multipurpose synthetic grease: Begin your company’s big-city construction project by inviting local officials to a “hands on” planning meeting. (Mark Raffman)
500 31-inch pieces of rope: Lay them end to end and use the measurement of 24.46338383838384 percent of a mile to calibrate your pedometer. (Ellen Raphaeli, Falls Church, Va.)
500 31-inch pieces of rope: Package each piece separately for sale at MAGA rallies as “Authentic Jan. 6 souvenirs.” (Lee Graham)
500 used burlap coffee bean sacks: Perfect for storing 500 31-inch pieces of rope. (Art Grinath, Takoma Park, Md.)
Used turf from a sports arena: Kids play soccer? Install this in your basement, and they can practice falling down, writhing around, and grabbing a knee or ankle to trick the ref into calling a foul, just like the pros! (Roy Ashley, Washington)
750 feet of bubble wrap: I cut this up to sell as Mini-Bubble-Stress-Anxiety-Fidget-Relief-Push-Popper-Sensory-Squeezers – with the holistic advantage of being single-use: That way, if they’re used with enough mindfulness, they may be discarded along with all of your negative energy. (Frank Osen, Pasadena, Calif.)
750 feet of bubble wrap: Next Halloween, go as the Michelin Man with monkeypox. (Kevin Dopart)
Wood from bowling alley lanes + steel rivet shelving: The floor looks great in my family room, and the shelves hold all the shoes I rent to my guests. (Steve Smith, Potomac, Md.)
1,800 disinfectant wipes: Whip these out the next 1,800 times your preteen does something gross! Then restock next week. (Duncan Stevens)
Industrial crane: “Honey, can you get that can of tomato paste from the top shelf?” (Jesse Rifkin, Arlington, Va.)
(1) Tie the 31-inch pieces of rope together to rappel from the skylight at the Rome, Ga., election center. (2) Steal the ballots. (3) Place them in the 300 7-by-9-inch food trays and those inside the used burlap sacks. (3) Carry them out to a large truck and hide them with the roll of artificial turf. (4) Attach one end of the firehoses to a giant fan and blow fake, altered ballots through the skylight into a 50-gallon bung barrel marked “VOTE HERE.”
And THAT is how the election was stolen. (Bird Waring, Larchmont, N.Y.)
And Last: 500 magnet strips: “Oh, these old things? Just a few times I got ink.” (Color printer sold separately.) (Coleman Glenn, Huntingdon Valley, Pa.)
Two contests still running — deadline for both: Monday night, June 13: Week 1490: Write a song parody about the news (see wapo.st/invite1490); and Week 1491: Add a letter to a word or name to make a new one. (wapo.st/invite1491).
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InvisibleInk! Idea:(Michael Magee) Examples:(Steve Honley; Jeff Contompasis; Bruce Alter) Title:(Jon Gearhart) Subhead:(Chris Doyle; Kevin Dopart) Prize:(Steve Leifer; Howard Walderman) VisibleInk!